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18 Italians among 26 killed in Iraq blast
November 12, 2003 16:15 IST
Last Updated: November 13, 2003 03:51 IST
Eighteen Italians were among 26 killed in a truck bomb attack on an Italian base in the southern Iraqi city of Nasiriya on Wednesday.
Of the 18 Italians, 16 were security personnel. The eight others killed were Iraqis.
The explosion set the building ablaze and several people were reported trapped under the rubble, according to the BBC.
The BBC quoted witnesses as saying that the bomber rammed his vehicle through the gate of the Italian compound and detonated the bomb in front of the building.
Italy has sent more than 2,000 troops to help the reconstruction efforts in post-war Iraq.
The attack comes at a time when US authorities are reporting the death of yet another American soldier in an explosion north of Baghdad, taking the toll to above 150 since President George W Bush anounced that the war had ended.
In another development, the Seattle Times said "a new, top-secret CIA report from Iraq warns that growing numbers of Iraqis are concluding that the US-led coalition can be defeated and are supporting the resistance".
The report paints a bleak picture of the political and security situation in Iraq and cautions that the US-led drive to rebuild the country as a democracy could collapse unless corrective actions are taken immediately, says the paper.
It also quotes a senior administration offficial as saying that "L Paul Bremer, head of the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority in Iraq, who arrived unexpectedly in Washington for strategy sessions yesterday, essentially endorsed the CIA's findings."